A Brief History of the Italian Marque
ARMA : Milan ( & STRAM of Rome )
Matchless AJS Main Dealers
After World War 2 there were many abandoned machines all over Europe and the Italians, who were full of engineering flair, saw an opportunity to do some business.
Italy's manufacturing industry was crushed at this time so a supply of British motorbikes filled the gap for those dealers who could not obtain a supply of new machines.
One company, ARMA of Milan, who were Matchless/AJS Main dealers saw a market for adding some Italian flair to a basic but good bike and so purchased G3L bikes and set about redesigning the rear to provide suspension in the Italian style.
Gilera appear to have been the main company, at the time, with swinging rear and it is likely that ARMA used this design as the basis for their interpretation. The Gilera had its spring tubes placed at high level but ARMA chose to undersling the tubes beneath the engine.
Each bike was finished to customer specification; other than the twin-telescopic suspension modification it is likely that no two machines were exactly the same.
ARMA of Milan was owned by Albino Gavoni and his partner from 1948-1951 was Dorino Serafini (acclaimed racing rider and driver for Benelli, Bianchi, Gilera and then Ferrari).
Dorino was an obvious marketing benefit to ARMA due to his fame on the race track.
When the supply of abandoned machines dried-up and the supply market started to re-establish itself the modified G3L's ended.
There is no knowledge of how many of these bikes survive but I have one (1945) and the nephew of Albino (Sergio Gavoni *) has another.
The most advertised modified G3L (not by ARMA) is the superb Gilera based bike of Ugo Cirri*
Acknowledgments and links :
Ugo Cirri's G3L is covered in an article : motorcycleclassics.com/motorcycle-reviews/an-unusual-matchless-g3l.aspx
Matchless-ARMA G3L picture : http://www.flickr.com/photos/twosheds2007/8240053167/
Update August 2014
The Matchless-ARMA G3L has proved to be a real challenge ( thought that this would be the most straight forward project ) but it is now nearing roadworthiness ( not final finishing ). I should be able to send some info within the next month.
Whilst awaiting various parts for the Matchless-ARMA I decided to dig-out the MSF-NM and focus on the mudguards and chain-guard. Had the mudguards made and ordered a suitable chain-guard from Chambriers in France and these arrived last week so set about fabricating the hoops and rear framework. Pictures attached. This machine is now morphing into something that is very pleasing to my eye but unfortunately it appears to be the subject of substantial ?Blocking? especially in France and Switzerland.
I contacted the VMCC to see if they were interested in my article on the MSF-NM and they were keen. The article ( no proofing or agreement prior to publication and less complete pictures of my bike and mandatory credits/acknowledgements!! ) appeared in the Journal in April. Circa 18,000 copies sent out (around the world ) and not one comment. An offer from Bonham?s to contact a previous owner ( resident in Switzerland ) also failed to provide a result. This bike ( or/and me ) is becoming ( or has become ) the subject of much distrust/jealousy. I expect that I will have to live with this.
I have tidied up my Flickr folders should you wish to trawl for anything that may catch your eye and the link is :
Here is also a link to some uploaded videos ( some of these can be used to cure insomnia!! ) :
Specifically there is a video for the Matchless-ARMA :
Wed Sep 21 2016
52nsu at hotmail.com
fyi. bought at auction usa 2016
Arma-Matchless-G3L-Florida posted in the gallery
Thu Sep 03 2015
czyzdawid at gmail.com
ARMA Matchless G3L
I have one of the ARMA Matchless. It is completely original and not restored.
Matchless-ARMA-PL-1.jpg posted in the gallery